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The diaspora is a rich resource, not just a cash cow

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Jimmy Deenihan

Jimmy Deenihan

Jimmy Deenihan

This week, the Government abandoned its Certificate of Irish Heritage after it turned out that fewer than 3,000 people had taken it up. The certificate was given to foreigners who did not fully qualify for Irish citizenship and an Irish passport. The State had tightened the rules on Irish passports and so this was seen as a consolation prize.

But there was little interest, and one can see why. For €40, the applicants got just a sheet (admittedly, of posh vellum) with their name on it and a fancy design. The applicant's lineage was loosely described: too loosely, according to genealogists, and this was part of the problem. But the whole scheme got little or no promotion and there was nothing behind it, such as membership of a group or a suggested way of activating an interest in the applicant's heritage and kinship with others of an Irish background. It just seemed like a cheap wheeze to drum up money.


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